Balancing Your Side Hustle with a Full-Time Job

When I began Blogging The Journey, time was not an issue. I started the blog over winter break when all I had was time. I dedicated hours to writing, and coming up with the general strategy behind the blog.

As the months rolled on, my time devoted to the blog slowed a little as I was deep in the job search. Even with the job search on my agenda I only had 12 credits so I was still able to put out a decent number of posts. However, when I moved up to Alexandria to start my full-time job, everything changed. Instead of waking up with only a few hours of class time filling up my schedule, I woke up with 9 hours of work, a 30 minute commute, and other responsibilities piling up. Not surprisingly, the writing stopped. How was I supposed to dedicate time to growing an online community when I have full-time work responsibilities, a commitment to the gym, while also learning how to adjust to the post-grad life?

This questioned burned in the back of my brain as I still had a desire to document what I go through and hopefully inspire others through my writing. I tried to fit in time during my lunch breaks, and the short time I was home before the gym, but I was getting drained. In almost a sign of fate, I received a text message from a very important person.

One of my biggest inspirations is Chase Jarvis, a world renowned photographer and entrepreneur. Chase became famous for his photography work and transitioned into entrepreneurship when he founded Creative Live, the world’s largest live-streaming education company. In the past year Chase has begun doing a daily YouTube series, Daily Creative, where he takes his audience’s questions and answers them for everyone to learn from.

One of his employees reached out via text message and saw that I had submitted a question awhile ago, and asked if I’d like to ask it live on the show! This was a great opportunity for me to not only get exposure but to have a burning question answered by one of my idols. Everything worked out and I asked Chase how a recent graduate should tackle balancing a 40 hour work week with a side hustle. Check out his amazing answer below.

[Authors note: The title “ready to quit your day job? is misleading for my situation (but maybe not everyone’s!) I asked about balancing a side hustle with a full-time job as a recent graduate. I love my job and have no plans to quit.]

I can’t thank Chase enough for the long thought out advice, he totally changed my way of thinking about my full-time job. Taking Chase’s advice in mind, here’s how I recommend tackling a side hustle while working 40 hours a week.

Find a Job That Supports Your Creative Side

What do we think about when choosing a job to apply for?

  • Salary
  • Location
  • Title
  • Benefits
  • Potential Co-Workers

One thing that never crossed my mind when applying was whether or not my company would support my creativity and side ambitions. I lucked out with finding an amazing company that supports my blog and even lets me contribute to the company blog to help me grow as a writer. I also lucked into finding a company that understands work/life balance, no 50 hour weeks or answering emails at home.

If your 5–10 is just as important as your 9–5 then I recommend finding a company that will support this lifestyle. A consulting job that constantly has you grinding out 50 hour work weeks with constant travel probably won’t be the best fit for someone trying to launch creative projects.

This also means you don’t necessarily have to put yourself in the best position to climb the corporate ladder. If you’d rather start your own business down the line or have your creative work support you financially as opposed to working through office politics to a Vice President role then there’s no need to find a corporate job. Part of the reason I love the agency environment is that there are no politics, no sucking up to try to get a promotion. I have corporate friends who are trying to earn a promotion for the sole intent of using their new salary as a negotiation tool when they switch jobs. Navigating the corporate world will do more harm to your creative career than good. Put an emphasis on the culture before you commit to your full-time gig.

Say “No” More Often

Read any blog post giving advice to young professionals or recent graduates moving to a new city and you will be told to “say yes” to everything. I couldn’t disagree more this advice. The more you say yes, the less time you have to dedicate to your side projects. Tim Ferriss wrote a great piece on saying no that includes a favorite quote of mine by Derek Sivers:

Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying: If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then I say no.
Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” — then my answer is no. When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.

Successful people know when to say no. Tim raises the question of whether or not you are doing what you are uniquely capable of. If my writing helps other people take risks in creative projects then I’d be giving up precious writing time to go to networking events or every happy hour.

Think about your top priorities in life, and give yourself the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to these things. Don’t take on commitments that don’t leave you saying “hell yeah”. The same goes for students still in school, you do not need to join every club and run for 3 leadership positions. My last summer in school I minimized every commitment on my schedule and focused that time on finding a job. I now focus my time on doing great work at my job, then creating content when I get home.

If you’re not saying “hell yeah”, say no.

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